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Hearty Eggplant Parmesan

A Classic Italian Favorite

By Scotty M. MericlePublished 29 days ago 4 min read
Photo by Zehra Yılmaz on pexels.com

Eggplant Parmesan is a beloved dish that brings the warmth and comfort of Italian cuisine right to your table. With its layers of tender eggplant, rich marinara sauce, and gooey melted cheese, it's a meal that can win over any crowd. In this post, we'll guide you through making a hearty Eggplant Parmesan that's perfect for family dinners, special occasions, or just a cozy night in. Let's get started!

Ingredients You'll Need

For this classic recipe, you'll need:

  • 2 large eggplants
  • Salt
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs (preferably Italian-style)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 cups marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade)
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish
  • Olive oil for frying

Step-by-Step Instructions

. Preparing the Eggplant

Start by washing the eggplants and slicing them into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Lay the slices out on a baking sheet and sprinkle them generously with salt. Let them sit for about 30 minutes. This process helps to draw out any bitterness and excess moisture.

After 30 minutes, rinse the eggplant slices under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.

2. Setting Up the Breading Station

Set up three shallow bowls for breading the eggplant. In the first bowl, place the flour. In the second bowl, beat the eggs. In the third bowl, add the breadcrumbs.

Take each eggplant slice and dredge it in the flour, shaking off any excess. Next, dip it into the beaten eggs, allowing any excess to drip off. Finally, coat the slice in breadcrumbs, pressing gently to ensure the crumbs stick well.

3. Frying the Eggplant

Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the breaded eggplant slices in batches. Fry them until they are golden brown and crispy on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the fried eggplant slices to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.

4. Assembling the Eggplant Parmesan

Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).

In a large baking dish, spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom. Arrange a layer of fried eggplant slices over the sauce. Spread another layer of marinara sauce over the eggplant, followed by a generous sprinkling of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Continue layering the eggplant, sauce, and cheeses until all the ingredients are used up, finishing with a layer of mozzarella and Parmesan on top.

5. Baking the Eggplant Parmesan

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

6. Serving Your Hearty Eggplant Parmesan

Once your Eggplant Parmesan is done baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh basil leaves for a burst of color and flavor.

This dish pairs wonderfully with a simple green salad and some crusty bread. It's also delicious the next day, as the flavors continue to meld together.

Tips for the Perfect Eggplant Parmesan

  1. Choose the Right Eggplants: Look for eggplants that are firm and have smooth, shiny skin. Smaller eggplants tend to be less bitter than larger ones.
  2. Salting the Eggplant: Don’t skip the salting step! It helps remove excess moisture and bitterness, resulting in a better texture and flavor.
  3. Homemade Marinara Sauce: While store-bought sauce is convenient, making your own marinara can elevate the dish. Simply sauté some garlic in olive oil, add crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar, and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Frying vs. Baking the Eggplant: If you prefer a lighter version, you can bake the breaded eggplant slices instead of frying them. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spray with cooking spray, and bake at 400°F (200°C) for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  5. Cheese Choices: While mozzarella and Parmesan are traditional, you can experiment with other cheeses like provolone or fontina for a different flavor profile.

Variations to Try

  1. Vegetable Medley: Add layers of sautéed spinach, mushrooms, or zucchini for extra veggies and flavors.
  2. Meaty Twist: Incorporate layers of ground beef or Italian sausage for a heartier, meatier version.
  3. Gluten-Free Option: Use gluten-free breadcrumbs and flour to make this dish suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.
  4. Vegan Eggplant Parmesan: Substitute dairy cheese with vegan cheese alternatives and use a flaxseed or chia egg mixture for breading.

Why We Love Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is more than just a meal; it's a celebration of flavors and textures. The crispy, golden eggplant contrasts beautifully with the rich, savory marinara sauce and the melty, gooey cheese. It's a dish that feels both indulgent and comforting, making it perfect for any occasion.

Whether you're serving it to family, friends, or enjoying it solo, this hearty Eggplant Parmesan is sure to become a favorite. The recipe is straightforward, but the result is anything but ordinary. With each bite, you'll experience the magic of classic Italian cuisine in the comfort of your own home.

Conclusion

Hearty Eggplant Parmesan is a timeless dish that brings people together. Its layers of flavor and satisfying textures make it a standout on any table. By following these simple steps, you can create a delicious, homemade version of this Italian favorite that will have everyone asking for seconds. Enjoy the process of cooking and the joy of sharing this classic meal with your loved ones.

Buon appetito!

Read more MICHAEL ANGELOS Eggplant Parmesan

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About the Creator

Scotty M. Mericle

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Comments (1)

  • Esala Gunathilake26 days ago

    Sounds like delicious. Well done!

Scotty M. MericleWritten by Scotty M. Mericle

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